An Introduction to Solid Waste Management
Waste management is a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. However, successfully disposing of waste in a sanitary way is neither simple nor easy. It’s a challenging task that’s crucial to the health of citizens and the environment at large.
Solid waste management is what most people think of when they think of waste management. It’s one of the biggest issues humanity is facing, especially in densely populated urban areas. The effects of waste on the environment can be stark and negative, which is why effective solid waste management is so important.
So, what exactly is solid waste management? First, let’s break down what solid waste is. Despite the name, “solid waste” doesn’t have to be physically solid to qualify as solid waste. In fact, liquids, semi-solids and gases can be classified as solid wastes.
Virtually anything you throw out that’s non-hazardous is solid waste. Food waste, food preparation byproducts, packaging, bottles, cans and construction materials all qualify as solid waste. The three largest percentage shares of materials that make up the pie chart of solid waste are paper and paperboard (39.2 percent), yard trimmings (14.2 percent) and plastics (9.1 percent).
Hazardous waste is any material designated as such by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and typically covers materials that are toxic, corrosive, potentially explosive or ignitable. These materials are closely regulated and should only be disposed of at approved sites.
It starts at home
The best way to practice acceptable solid waste management is to create as little waste as possible. This starts with everyone at home and in their communities. If people can reduce the volume of waste they produce, it can aid the waste stream. Reusing and recycling the items people consume and implementing composting would pave the way for better and more sanitary solid waste management. It would also lessen the potentially harmful effects of waste on the environment.
It ends in a landfill
Once the solid waste is disposed of in the proper receptacles, it is collected by waste management professionals. This is one of the more important steps of waste management, as physically removing the garbage, trash and refuse can prevent health problems and illnesses.
From there, the solid waste is transported en masse to the proper disposal sites. It is then processed and sometimes sorted. Sorting solid waste provides the opportunity to reclaim some recyclable materials from the waste stream that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. The last stage of solid waste management is the ultimate disposal of said waste, usually into landfills.
Landfills as an energy source
Most solid waste ends up in sanitary landfills. These landfills are specially designed plots of land with a series of filters, liners and gas release pipes. These features limit harmful effects of waste on the environment and prevent explosions. Some sanitary landfills even take the methane gas associated with decomposition and use it as a fuel source for surrounding areas.
Call today to discuss your waste management needs
Now that you know some of the basics of solid waste management, call Klumm Bros. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and offer a whole host of services, ranging from commercial waste management to demolition services. Get in touch to learn more about what we can do for you.
Categorised in: Commercial Waste Management